The Events Industry Council (EIC) released the final results of the Global Economic Significance of Business Events report, the first worldwide study on the economic importance of face-to-face business meetings and events.

The report was conducted by Oxford Economics with collaboration between the EIC and its partners, IMEX, Hilton, the MPI Foundation and the PCMA Education Foundation.

The findings show that business events generated $621.4 billion (USD) of direct GDP (gross domestic product) and contributed a total global GDP impact of $1.5 trillion. This ranks the sector as the 14th largest in the world, ahead of GDP’s of Australia, Spain, Mexico, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

“For the first time our industry is able to prove just how formidable an economic engine business events are globally,” said EIC Research Committee Chair Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.

“This study enables everyone involved in bringing people together for meaningful face-to-face interactions to show their true value and substantial contributions to growth and opportunity," she added.

Global Economic Significance of Business Events Report Highlights:

  • Number of participants: Business events involved more than 1.5 billion participants across more than 180 countries.
  • Direct spending (business sales): Business events generated more than $1.07 trillion (USD) of direct spending, representing spending to plan and produce business events, business events-related travel, and other direct spending, such as spending by exhibitors.
  • Direct GDP and employment: Business events supported 10.3 million direct jobs globally and generated $621.4 billion of direct GDP.
  • Average spending per participant: On average, $704 was spent per business event participant.
  • Top countries: The top 50 countries accounted for $1.03 trillion of business events direct spending, representing 96 percent of the global total.

EIC Report Total GDP Impacts by Region

According to the EIC report, the business events sector directly generated more output (business sales) than many large global sectors, including consumer electronics and computers and office equipment.

“The Global Economic Significance of Business Events is a vital tool for our industry to help both private and public sectors everywhere better understand how important business events are developing and sustaining thriving local, regional and national economies,” noted EIC CEO Karen Kotowski, CMP, CAE.

Out of the top 50 countries, the U.S. led in business events direct spending with $325 billion, with China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan rounding out the top five. Asia was the largest region in terms of business event participants representing nearly one-third of 1.5 billion total worldwide. 

Western Europe ranked second, with almost thirty percent followed by North America with just under twenty-two percent of all attendees. The average spend per participant is $704 (USD).

Information based off a news release from the Events Industry Council (EIC).

Access the full EIC report conduct by Oxford Economics here.